Application of the Safe-by-Design Concept in Crop Breeding Innovation

Jan Pieter van der Berg*, G.A. Kleter, E. Battaglia, L.M.S. Bouwman, E.J. Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present paper proposes the application of the safe-by-design concept to crop breeding innovation with the aim to accommodate safety considerations for new agricultural food and feed products. Safe-by-design can be implemented in all stages of the innovation cycle of agricultural products, from the early stages of research and development towards the post-market stage. Our proposed application of safe-by-design can be part of “responsible research and innovation” concepts, because they share features such as risk prevention strategies and a participatory approach. Early awareness of potential safety issues can guide the development of agricultural products towards safe options, both at the process and product level, and thus may help to reduce extensive pre-market assessment studies that might otherwise be needed further downstream for regulatory product approval. Here, it is discussed how the proposed safe-by-design approach can be introduced into the development of safe food crops using emerging technologies, such as gene editing and synthetic biology, and how this may help to safeguard the safety of our food and feed supply in the light of the ongoing global innovations in agricultural crop breeding.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6420
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2020


  • crop breeding innovations
  • food
  • risk assessment
  • safe-by-design
  • synthetic biology

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